Obituary: Raymond von Dran

Raymond F. von Dran, dean emeritus of Syracuse University's School of Information Studies, died on July 23. He was 60 years old.

Here's an excerpt from the School of Information Studies announcement:

Von Dran served as dean of the iSchool from 1995-2007. In March 2006, he announced his retirement as dean, which was to take effect this summer. Following a year of administrative leave, during which time he planned on traveling the world with his wife, Gisela, recently retired assistant professor and director emerita of the school's master's degree program in library and information science, he planned to return to the iSchool as a professor. On June 28, 2007, it was announced that Elizabeth Liddy G'77, Ph.D. '88, Trustee Professor of Information Studies, would serve as interim dean of the iSchool, effective July 15. . . .

During von Dran's tenure, the number of faculty and students in the iSchool nearly tripled and the school's sponsored research increased five-fold. All seven of the school's research centers were launched under his leadership, and several academic degree programs were instituted. The school's success under von Dran's leadership was recognized by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked its M.S. program in information management and the Ph.D. program in information science and technology second in the nation, and the library and information science program third. Von Dran was also instrumental in increasing the school's endowment, recently helping to secure the largest gift in its 110-year history.

A founding member of the I-Schools Groupa national consortium of academic institutions focused on the relationship between information and peoplevon Dran has helped define a growing academic and research field in national and international circles. Through his work, he brought acclaim to the iSchool, which often serves as a model for other information schools to follow. In 1980, von Dran wrote "The National Union Catalog Experience: Implications for Network Planning," published by the Library of Congress, as well as numerous articles and papers on such topics as information science education, competencies for the information age, the economics of information, managing information resources and authority control structure in libraries. He chaired the American Society for Information Science and Technology's Education Committee, which created the organization's first educational standards. He advised a score of universities on information technology systems and new information curricula. . . .

Prior to joining SU, von Dran served as dean of the information schools at The Catholic University of America and the University of North Texas. He received a Ph.D. in information science and master's degrees in library science and European history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and bachelor's degrees in foreign languages and history from Seton Hall University.

He is survived by his wife, Gisela, and daughter, Beth.

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